What is ‘Mobility Dog’?
Mobility Dog is a new, non-competitive type of training, open to and suitable for all dogs and their owners.
Created in Switzerland in the nineties, it has been very successful and has spread rapidly to other countries. Given its characteristics, it is an excellent tool for improving a dog’s social skills, and helping him integrate into our urbanized society.
The training consists of 18 standard tests, each to be performed within a one minute time limit; both the time limit and the type of test are tailored in order to avoid creating psychological or physical stress for the dog (and owner), regardless of the dog’s age or size.
The stated end goal of a Mobility Dog course is to adequately prepare both dog and owner to participate in a Mobility Dog Show. But in practice, the special features of this type of training allow one to deepen and improve one’s bond with and handling of one’s dog, and this is the ultimate aim of this type of activity.
The Mobility Dog obstacle course is inserted within a regular training pathway for the dog and owner. It is fun for both dog and owner, and breaks the potential monotony of a normal training course.
The process of tackling and resolving small problems and overcoming a variety of obstacles has many beneficial effects on the dog and his/her owner: it increases self-esteem, decreases hyperactivity, increases the ability to communicate between dog and owner and improves the understanding between them. It also increases self confidence and trust in one’s companion (both canine and human), strengthens the dog’s ability to concentrate and pay attention, reduces insecurity and consequently minimises the appearance of some forms of aggression. It improves the quality of life in general for both dog and owner, provides endless opportunities for socializing, and since there are no performance anxiety issues as it is non-competitive, it also helps to relax and eliminate stress.
It is well known that performing non-habitual movements and successfully overcoming minor obstacles increase the dog’s learning ability and mental flexibility.
Last but not least are the positive effects of physical activity, especially considering that all the training is done as a game, which is in itself an effective motivator for our four-legged friend.
Performing activities with our dog also helps us monitor both their physical and psychological health, enabling us to anticipate the onset of any serious problems.
Needless to say, a healthy and well-balanced dog who has a good relationship with his owner is generally more appreciated, particularly from a social point of view.
Mobility Dog also aims to be the means of encouraging a more wide-spread knowledge about dogs, and to prevent the accidents and mostly involontary ill-treatment which can be caused by a lack of understanding of animal behaviour.
Taken from: Elena Garoni, Luca Spennacchio, Ivano Vitalini, MobilityDog,